I’m certain many of you reading have been put in crowd-pleasing situations where it is appropriate to poke fun at yourself.
One of my favorite past one-liners was telling others that I pursued a degree in Mass Communication solely because communication (or mainly talking) was the only talent I possessed.
In hindsight, it is possible that most people laughed not from hysteria but rather because of the deep irony and truth presented in the joke itself.
Unlike many who face routine nervousness when having to lead a meeting or conduct a presentation, my continual strength has been the ability to talk. For those who know me personally, “ability to talk” is an understatement. I’m self-aware of the fact that I could have a conversation with an inanimate object if the time and moxie was present.
I’ve always enjoyed sharing stories and swapping thoughts with others (hence, this blog). Rare are the times when my conversation is at a loss of words.
Because of this potential, I found myself at an early age not having to put much effort into public speaking. Demonstrations or lessons that took classmates weeks to prepare for were usually adlibbed by myself. I considered this continual predicament to be “#blessed” and never gave it another thought.
Unfortunately, what I considered luck or talent at the time eventually morphed into a full blown bad habit. I knew I was good – and I knew I could get away with it.
While I pursued my Mass Communication degree with the intentions of working in journalism, my future took a different direction as my husband and I now work in ministry. While journalists and pastors seem eons apart in nature, they share one common denominator – deadlines.
Just as the time clock for a story to be posted eventually comes to an end, the perpetual Sunday and Wednesday always comes around. Whether you work for days or pull an all-nighter, your time is boiled down to the deadline. It was the toxic food that fed the beast, transforming a bad habit into a lifestyle.
Still, no one knew.
Preparation was never a considered factor that people asked about, so the fact that those listening responded to the message was proof enough to on-looking crowds. Because no one asked, I didn’t tell. Whether it took me one hour or one minute to write the message, the pressure to prepare didn’t outweigh the accolades of “Amen” and “Preach” to keep going.
All continued as what I considered normal until I spoke with a fellow communicator who mentioned in passing conversation that they took two months to prepare for one Sunday morning message. Not two days – not two weeks – two months to build the perfect landscape of Scripture and stories and convey what was on their heart. They dedicated 60 days to hearing God’s voice and the exact words to say.
With a cold shoulder, I blew the comment off in my psyche. I reasoned that it was not ordinary. I wrestled with the fact that it was unreasonable. I justified that it was not scalable for the future – and despite my attempts to argue myself out of a conclusion, I also couldn’t deny that their dedication and time yielded productive results.
Take a break: Review Matthew 25:14-26 | The Parable of the Talents
The lesson of investment typically involves financial wisdom set aside for stockholders and lenders, but at the end of his teaching ministry we find Jesus himself speaking on such an important topic in Matthew 25.
While usually interpreted as a parable about using what God has given to us, this story also points to important attributes in the life of a good steward – faithful with what is given, trustworthy, full of character and a true servant who works with excellence.
“… Well done my good and faithful servant. You have been faithful in handling this small amount, so now I will give you many more responsibilities…” - Matthew 25:21
Because the master makes a reference to the financial amount being small, we tend to imagine this story as the boss handing out pennies or nickels to his workers. On the contrary, one talent alone was worth at that time thousands of dollars – with some scholars even concluding each talent being worth a normal year’s salary. Yet, these servants were entrusted with several talents altogether. What a weight of responsibility to take on while the master was away.
Investment isn’t solely about making small things big or making bad things good – in God’s Kingdom, it’s about making good things great.
Even on my best days, my soul is sometimes still convinced that I am a reflection of the last servant to receive a coin - a worker with one talent to their name.
Still, my ability to talk will be wasted and buried if I allow it to remain the same as it was given to me. Even if what God gave me was good, it is my job to make it great. As a direct result, I’ve created my own mantra when speaking: I have a chance to speak on behalf of the King.
Therefore, as with the servants in this story, may I invest wisely and prepare faithfully in what has been given.
What good things has God put in your life?
Your family, your job, your talents, your passions – the list is unending. Now, think for a moment and ask yourself, “How can I invest in these good things and make them great?” This question alone will probe us to keep moving forward and ensure we do not become complacent and lazy with the notable things He has graced us with. It’s our job to show His glory to others by investing our time and efforts into each one.